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Walking away with the Pennant: Who will win the American League?

Baseball enthusiasts are getting geared up for the long grind that is the MLB season and after looking at two teams and their World Series odds earlier this week it's time to break down who are the favorites to represent the American League in the Fall Classic.

AL Pennant Odds

Not surprisingly we have the Angels (+400) and Tigers (+400) tied at the top as both should run away with their respective divisions and see home field advantage in at least the 1st round of the playoffs.

The Angels added Josh Hamilton to their already stacked lineup and after the rest of the new faces worked out the many kinks last year, L.A. has to be the front-runner here. Detroit is still very good, but they still lack a strong supporting cast behind Verlander/Cabrera/Fielder and it was exposed in last year's World Series.

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Toronto (+800) is next, and while they are the flavor of the day right now, the complete lack of playoff experience on their roster will be a huge negative come the fall when pressure baseball is going on every single day. Winning the AL East is a very real possibility but going through the rest of the AL to make it to the World Series is unlikely, especially at this price.

You can never count out the Yankees (+1000) and if New York can simply stay afloat and remain in the hunt for the first half of the year while their stars (Granderson, Rodriguez) get healthy they are a team that could end up hitting their stride at exactly the right time. Tampa (+1000), Oakland (+1200) and Texas (+1200) are in this next group as well but of the three, Texas is the only one worth considering. Yes they lost Hamilton, but they are still loaded with sluggers in that lineup and added even more playoff experience with the addition of Lance Berkman. Like the Yankees, they are loaded with playoff experience throughout their roster and if it came down to a Texas/LAA ALCS, don't you think the Rangers love to have that added motivation of knocking off Hamilton in his new home?

As for the longshots, I think the only team you can consider to wager on here is Cleveland (+3000). The Indians may be behind the White Sox (+2500), Royals (+3000) and Tigers in comparing their own division, but the veteran additions this team made this year will make them a player the entire year. The AL Central is wide open behind Detroit and one significant injury to Detroit's "Big three" could easily derail the Tigers season. Getting through the rest of the AL is another question for Cleveland, but at +3000 the odds are there to take a shot with the Indians.

Regarding plays, I think the best two options here are the Angels (+400) and the Yankees (+1000). L.A. should be able to dominate the AL for much of the season and they are so deep that they can withstand injuries and slumps. Give them homefield throughout and opposing teams are in for a rough ride.

The Yankees are on the other side as they have to withstand injuries right from the get-go, but if they are able to do that, they will be very dangerous come the 2nd half of the year. Once the playoffs start, no one can say that they wouldn't love to avoid the Yankees, and with their championship window nearly shut with all their aging stars, this current team will do anything they can for one more shot at glory.

  
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